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PHIL 375 - Lecture: Jaspers (On My Philosophy)

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McGill University
PHIL 375
Susan Judith Hoffmann

Jaspers Attempts to rehabilitate the notion of transcendence, which had been curtailed by German Idealists (particularly by Kant). Kant argued that transcendent knowledge is not possible; the ideas of God or the soul, or the self, or the cosmos, the beginning of the universe, are “ideas of pure reason.” Theoretical reason is driven to ask such questions (God, soul), but they are out of bounds. There is no content, no sensation that corresponds to them. They are not ideas of which we can have certain knowledge, which is the only theoretical knowledge, which is what he is interested in. Jaspers is Kantian, and draws on him, arguing that there are limits to what theoretical reason can attain. However, instead of saying transcendent ideas are impossible, Jaspers also says that this is where existence starts (where science and theoretical reasoning leaves off). Existence comes into being where theoretical reasoning leaves off. Because existence must confront the antimonies of existence and theoretical reasoning, it overcomes them. This is a higher level, more authentic level of consciousness. This is where we discover existence is transcended. Jaspers writes that his philosophy should elaborate or carry out this transcendence in all philosophical world orientations For the sake of experiencing that last limit, there then unfolds a thinking that is not simply a knowledge of something else; instead that same thinking is a doing, an act, an awakening. Views orthodox religion as a hindrance to authentic communication. Sartre − plagiarist The Pursuit of Being Points out that it is necessary to collapse the artificial dualism or antimony between interior and exterior, subjectivity and objectivity, between phenomenon and neumenon, appearance and essence. Argues that the phenomenon itself is all there is. Therefore, if one wants to attain philosophical truth, one must conduct phenomenology. Also talks about essence and the essence of phenomenon, in a way that draws on Husserl. Says appearance is all there is. Nevertheless, it has an essence. It is a principle of a series of appearances that manifest itself. This is a 'new dualism' between the finite and the infinite. Husserl says that an object can be seen or grasped from many different perspectives; Sartre says 'yes,' and the principle behind this infinite manifestation is the object's essence. The essence (or objectivity) of the phenomenon is not that there is some essential, neumenal being behind apperances, or a fully complete concept behind appearances (there are only appearances), but that what makes it objective is that its there. And it is not y
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